Terror camps continue in Pakistan: US report

By IANS, New Delhi : Contrary to Islamabad claims that terrorist organisations no longer flourish in Pakistan, the US state department has raised concerns that outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) continue to operate from Pakistan for their activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The ‘Country Terrorism Report’ prepared by the State Department and released Monday has listed these outfits among the 42 prominent terrorist groups worldwide.

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The three terrorist groups, as the report mentions, are operating from Pakistan and were responsible for terrorist activities in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

JeM, the report says, continues to operate openly in parts of Pakistan despite President Musharraf’s 2002 ban on its activities.

The group is well funded and is said to have tens of thousands of followers who support attacks against Indian targets, the Pakistani government and sectarian minorities.

Masood Azhar founded JeM – also known as Khudamul Islam, Kuddam-e-Islami and Tehreek-ul-Furqaan – after he was released in exchange of 155 hijacked IC-814 passengers in 1998.

The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan and has openly declared war against the US, says the report adding it is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F).

JeM supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war, according to the report.

It says that JeM has invested in legal businesses, such as commodity trading, real estate and production of consumer goods to raise finances. In addition, JeM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets and Al Qaida is suspected of providing funding to it.

Another militant outfit LeT, the report says, is based in Muridke Lahore and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan and functions under banners of Al Mansoorian, Jamaat ud-Dawa, Paasban-e-Ahle-Hadis and Paasban-e-Kashmir.

Led by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, LeT is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India.

About its activities, the report says that LeT has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Jammu and Kashmir since 1993.

Linking LeT with Al Qaeda the report says that senior Al Qaida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah was captured at an LeT safe house in Faisalabad in March 2002, which suggested that some Lashkar members were facilitating the movement of Al-Qaida members in Pakistan.

The report says that it has several thousand members in Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-administered Kashmir), Pakistan, Doda region in Jammu and also in the Kashmir Valley.

It also mentions that all LeT members are Pakistanis from madrassas across Pakistan or Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars.

About its funding, the report says, LeT collects donations from the Pakistani expatriate communities in the Middle East and Britain, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and other Kashmiri business people. LeT also maintains a website under the name Jamaat ud-Daawa through which it solicits funds and provides information on the group’s activities.

Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), the reports says, also functions under names of Al-Faran, Al-Hadid, Al-Hadithm, Harakat ul-Ansar, and Jamiat ul-Ansar.

Based in Pakistan, the report says HuM is politically aligned with the radical political party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s Fazlur Rehman faction (JUI-F) and operates primarily in Kashmir.

HuM is linked to the Kashmiri militant group Al Faran that kidnapped and later killed five western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995, says the report.

It has several hundred armed supporters located in ‘Azad Kashmir’, Pakistan, and India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions and in the Kashmir valley.

HuM’s supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris but also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan war.

The report says that HuM is based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan and has its training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and conducts insurgent and terrorist operations primarily in Kashmir.